Post-v6 new features and development news

When assigning footprints to symbols, we now show the symbol pin names (if any) on the footprint pads.

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Graphical, canvas-based netclass assignments:

Project-wide netclass assignments have also been upgraded to pattern-based:

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Specification of shorting pad groups for net-ties:

Includes better support for Router and DRC for tracks entering and leaving net-tie pads, and for copper graphic items shorting pads not listed in a group.

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Hyperlinks in text elements, both to pages in the document and external http(s):// and file:// protocols

Example usage:

Thanks to @JeffYoung for finalising this in time for v7!

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Interactive pdf outputs from the Schematic Editor, covering:

  • Hyperlinks (both external and “to page” links)
  • Sheet symbols become hyperlinks to the page in the pdf that they represent
  • Intersheet refs have a pop-up that allows to go to the pages where the global label is present (this likely will only work in full featured pdf readers, like Acrobat)

Example below navigating a pdf generated with the Schematic Editor, opened in Acrobat DC:

Again thanks to @JeffYoung for getting the intersheet refs popup working (as well as other fixes).

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A few tweaks to symbol fields:

  • You can now choose to display a field’s name in addition to its value on the schematic sheet
  • You can now disallow autoplacement for particular fields, which can be useful when you want to have certain fields always show up in a certain place relative to the symbol graphics, but others to be autoplaced.

Screenshot from 2022-09-04 13-27-33

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New Simulation Model Editor:

  • Reads models and their parameters from .model and .subckt lines in Spice libraries,
  • Has a pin assignments grid for easier pin ordering.


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Thanks to @qu1ck, PCM packages now support automatic updates (opt-in)

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Custom fields in library symbols are now shown in the Symbol Chooser and can be searched.

custom_fields

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KiCad now supports database libraries, which use an external SQL database to store information about components. There is some preliminary documentation for those who are interested in testing it.

If you aren’t sure you need a database library, you probably don’t! (at least, not right now). This is an advanced feature intended for specific use cases at the moment. The primary audience for this feature is companies and organizations who already use a database for part management and wish to integrate their existing database with KiCad. We are also interested to see what other types of users do with this feature, and may explore having more features built in to KiCad regarding data management in the future. In the near term though, part data management will be done through external tools.

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Unroute Selected. Works on the stuff you want to unroute (tracks, footprints, pads, etc.)

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Attempt Finish Routing. Tries to automatically complete routing to the nearest ratsnest end. If it doesn’t succeed, will stop at the failure point to continue routing manually.

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Attempt to Finish Selection (fake Autoroute): Will iteratively attempt to automatically route all selected routable items to their nearest ratsnest end. Will stop at any failure point for manual finish, then continue auto routing as much as possible.

Edit: Here’s a slightly more complicated example showing a filter + amplifier layout automatically routing:

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Plot to PDF now generates the Bookmarks/Table of contents/Outline

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Select and reorder columns in the Symbol Chooser

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  • 3D Model Paths can now be resolved relative to a footprint in case you want to distribute 3d models with the footprint in one bundle easily. (Note: kicad2step does not yet support this)
  • The old 3d path aliases were removed, they are migrated automatically to environment variables if they are uniquely named. The old and not documented alias syntax still works in 3d model paths.
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Since 3a76d426, if you select multiple footprints and/or pads in PCB editor, the corresponding symbols and/or pins will be selected in schematic editor. The last selected item is highlighted.

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Now you can quickly separate footprints by functional blocks by selecting them on schematic, then using the new “Pack and Move Footprints” action in the PCB editor.
The footprints are grouped by size and sorted by reference, then packed in a square.

The initial footprint spread algorithm after updating PCB from schematic was also improved. The placement is more compact, and symbols that are close to each other on the schematic are more likely to have their footprints close on the PCB.

Click to expand screenshots (before/after)

“dvk-mx8m-bsb” board:

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A column of resistors:

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A block of decoupling/stitching capacitors:

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kicad2step has been eliminated in favor of a new kicad-cli due to refactoring work in progress

kicad-cli pcb export step takes the same arguments as kicad2step

Psst, there’s a kicad-cli pcb export svg

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Disjoint outline courtyards are now supported, as well as disjoint outline boards.

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